Saskatoon

Saskatoon soccer fanatic says Canadians are out in full force at FIFA Women's World Cup

Team Canada is off to a strong start at the FIFA Women's World Cup and one Saskatoon fan was there to take in the action.

Lee Kormish says he saw hundreds of Canadian jerseys at country's first game Monday

Lee Kormish, a Saskatoon soccer fan and columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, is in France for the FIFA Women's World Cup. He said he was surprised by the many Canada fans who came out to support the red and white during a match where they defeated Cameroon 1 - 0 on Monday. (Supplied/Lee Kormish)

Canadian fans are out in full force at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

On Monday, Team Canada defeated Cameroon 1-0 at the Stade de le Mosson in the french city of Montpellier. Lee Kormish, a soccer fanatic, freelance writer and columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, was in the crowd.

"When I came over I was curious to see if there would be many Canadians over here actually supporting the team," said Kormish in an interview from France Tuesday. "When I arrived at the stadium here last night …  there was at least a couple hundred fans that were wearing Canadian jerseys or had Maple Leafs." 

Kormish called the atmosphere "incredible," and said many Canadians have been gathering at a pub ahead of the matches. This includes some family members of Team Canada players like Christine Sinclair and Lindsay Agnew.

"It's a real family atmosphere and once you got to the game, the Canadian fans were all in. I was quite impressed with how many are here and how vocal we were."

Kadeisha Buchanan's powering header would prove to be the game-winning goal. (Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA-EFE)

Soccer players in Saskatchewan are also keeping a close watch on the tournament. Amy Prokop, an assistant coach with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's soccer team, said seeing athletes from Canada play on the international stage is important.

"It's an exciting time for women's soccer," she said. 

Canada's Janine Beckie, left, in action against Yvonne Leuko of Cameroon. (Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA-EFE)

She said Canada's hosting of the FIFA Women's World Cup back in 2015 spurred more support for the sport across the country. 

"Anytime there's female athletes performing on a stage of this level, representing their country it definitely provides inspiration for kids at the grass-roots level, all the way up to competitive and university-level female athletes," she said.

"It sets the stage for a new standard and it's inspiring for anyone of any age."

The red and white's strong start in the tournament may also spur some more support for the sport, said Doug Pederson, executive director with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. 

"When you get that win early on, you build on that momentum," he said. "The crowd then starts to anticipate the next win and you're going to start to engage more people as a result." 

He said Team Canada has the strongest roster it has in "many years" and he expects the team to have a strong showing as the tournament rolls on.

"We certainly hope that the success from the first game continues," he said. 

Team Canada's next game is slated for Saturday against New Zealand. 

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